Elevation: 9,819 ft
GPS: 37.593, -119.015 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 19,903 total · 150/month
Shared By: littlemike on Jun 26, 2008 with improvements by Acmesalute76
Admins: Aron Quiter, Euan Cameron, AWinters, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes
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The North Arête Route starts in a small chimney in the back of a corner and is not the prominent dihedral which will be to the left. For the first pitch, head up the small chimney (5.6) and then up a broken face (fourth class). The second pitch appears to have choice of two chimney systems. We headed up the left side and stayed closer to the edge of the arête. It looks like there is a second chimney to the right. In either case this ends below a huge section of white quartz, hence the name Crystal Crag.. A short half pitch of this put us on the ridge. A couple hundred feet of mixed third and fourth class climbing with the occasional fifth class move thrown in the summit.

Getting There

Mammoth Lakes area; Crystal Crag is directly behind Crystal Lake and is easily visible from the parking at George Lake.

3 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at North Arete

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
North Arête
Trad, Alpine 4 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
North Arete (dihedral variation)
Trad, Alpine 4 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
North Arête
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad, Alpine 4 pitches
North Arete (dihedral varia…
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, Alpine 4 pitches
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Some small bits of clarification may be in order for this route. Did it for the second time with littlemike June 08. Lots of variations here for the start. As littlemike says, the chimney is the way I've done it but the picture shows the face to the left of the chimney. If you are short in height, exiting the chimney may add a grade. Venturing right off the arete has more loose rock and more 4th class. I've climbed to the right above the shown belay #2 in a large chute to the right of the column which has a nice platform at its top. The move out of the chute and onto the platform is nice. Watch the loose rock in the chute. Traversing left off the column platform on a small ledge takes you to some wonderful exposed 5.5 friction climbing before the shown belay #3. If you bail after the rap from the first peak, take it from me...stay skiers LEFT going down the LOOSE rock. You will thank me.
Carl Jul 26, 2008
El Andy
El Portal, CA
El Andy   El Portal, CA
My partner and I were climbing this route on 10-16-10 and she lost her shoes somewhere along the ridge traverse. The shoes must have come unclipped from her harness ('doh, no locker!)
They were trail runner shoes on a green/gold 'biner.
If noones finds them in the next week I imagine the snow will cover them up until next Spring.
Email me at alive.in.dreams@gmail.com if you find them.


p.s. It was my partner's first multi-pitch and she not only rocked the climb but she simul-climbed the ridge. Woo Hoo!
This is a GREAT route! Oct 18, 2010
Chris Owen
Big Bear Lake
Chris Owen   Big Bear Lake  
I thought the highlight of the route was the ridge traverse. That was fun and certainly pushing 5th in places. May 3, 2012
This peak really does have wonderful top-10-in-the-world easy narrow-ridge arete climbing on good granite. Unfortunately many parties end their climb at the Middle summit and descend the W face from near the notch between the Middle and (highest) South summits. But that's where the great arete climbing starts.

To make sure to get to do the great arete climbing on this peak (and without so much loose rock), try this route .

Note that many more Comments and a better find-the-start Photo for North Arete route are on this MountainProject page . Aug 21, 2013
I lost my BD C4 #2 with yellow BD hoodwire on this route last week. If you find it and have a kind soul, I would love to hear from you. Email me at j.chev@yahoo.com

Keep on climbing! Sep 11, 2016